Rules and Strategy

How to Play Keno – Learn the Keno Rules the Easy Way and Win

Keno is a lottery game of Chinese origin. It became known in the United States of America in the 19th Century when Chinese immigrants established themselves in the country. It’s a very easy game to play but quite a difficult one to win because the odds against winning the jackpot are so high, even with online Keno games.

How to Play Keno: Easy to Follow Keno Rules for Beginners

Keno is the ideal game to play in-between rounds of other casino games. Each round of keno is called a race and there can be a long time in-between ‘races’. Some casinos offer one round after the next continuously so there’s no need to wait.

The general game of keno is fairly straight forward. There are 80 possible numbers of which 20 will be drawn.

  • All you have to do is choose 1-10 numbers that you think will be drawn during the game and mark them on a ticket.
  • You pay your wager as you hand in your ticket.
  • You wait for the draw and see if any of your numbers came out.

You can only qualify for the main jackpot if you choose 10 numbers. This style of play is very similar to a national lottery game. When you play keno online it’s not much different. Instead of filling out a ticket you simply select the numbers you wish to bet on and place your bet value via the game's interface.

Bets and pay-outs: Making your fortune from Keno play

The minimum price per bet depends on the casino you play at, but it’s usually set at around $1. If you play online or via a keno machine you can see what the payout tables are on the screen. It will always vary based on the quantity of numbers that you’ve chosen.

For example, if you’ve chosen 4 numbers in total then you only need to hit 2 of those numbers to win and if for example, you’ve chosen 10 numbers in total then you only need 5 to win and so on.

The bigger the numbers selected then the bigger the payout will be. We will go deeper into bets and payouts further down the page.

How to choose the numbers in Keno?

There are a number of ways you can choose the numbers you play and what spots to pick. Those that have played this for longer have their lucky spots. For them, they are the best spot to pick but there really are no best spots.

A player can only guess what will come up in the draw and if they are lucky to win prizes from their predictions, then it never will have come down to a date of birth or superstition.

Like any game, be it video poker, blackjack, roulette, and even slot machines, winnings are purely circumstantial with no strategy involved if the truth be told to us players.

You can wager and select the numbers you consider to be more favorable just by assessing the game. These are known in keno betting as hot and cold numbers. When you spend a good amount of time playing at the table, your card also becomes a notepad of marking down which numbers appear more and less than others to use on your next round of bets.

Keno players have been doing this since the game hit Las Vegas in the early ‘60s. The rules of picking the numbers you then pay on, are totally relative to you as a gambler taking a chance to match in hope and cash out a huge multiplier payoff. We suggest to check out our Keno Numbers Guide as there are some exciting ways and patterns to choose your numbers from.

How to Win at Keno - 5 Quick Keno Tips

If you are a huge Keno game fan, then you are going to want to pay close attention to the five tips that we are about to give you. Like with all of the tips that we provide for our customers on this site, they will help you to have a great gambling experience. Of course, we are not forcing you to follow our tips, but you would be selling yourself short if you do not.

Keno Casino Promotions - Look for Special Feature Tickets

Some online casinos will offer a variety of promotions to those who play their Keno games. With such promotions you might get the option of placing some discounted stakes or get a higher payout than usual if you get lucky during the Keno drawings. Another type of promotion that you might come across is a bottom or top 40 ticket. With this promo, you get to select the bottom 40 or top 40 numbers on a ticket. As you have more numbers than you usually would, you have a greater chance to win prizes online. The promotions on offer will depend entirely on the casino that you are playing at, but they will always provide a better incentive than a traditional Keno game.

Play Video Keno with Bonus Features

If you like to play video Keno, then you should look for variations that have a bonus game. As the numbers are drawn completely at random, a Keno game with a bonus will not have lower odds than a traditional game. However, some will provide a lower payout, so be sure to check the Keno payout chart before you start playing. What type of bonuses can you find? Well, you might find wild numbers or bonus

spins. Added bonuses will always add more entertainment to any game.

Pick a Keno Game with the Best Payouts

Keno has a variety of different payouts. In fact, games can have dramatic variations when it comes to paying out for number groupings. Therefore, before you sit down to play a game of Keno, you should take a close look at the payouts that are being offered. This is particularly the case if you are playing video Keno or live Keno. By shopping around, you can make sure that you get the best value for your hard-earned money.

Choose a Progressive Keno Game

One thing that makes Keno games so fun to play is that they give players the chance to take home a huge jackpot. Though the regular Keno payouts can be quite large. Progressive jackpots allow you to win that much more and, to make things even better, you usually do not have to wager an extra money in order to be eligible to compete for the progressive jackpot.

Keno - Wise Bankroll Management

You do not have to be some type of Keno expert to know that it is a game that has a really high house edge. In fact, it is a game that can have a house edge that sits anywhere between 25% and 45%, depending on where you are playing it. Therefore, this means that you have to give yourself a budget that you can afford to lose before you start to play. Furthermore, you might also want to think about placing some smaller bets instead of large ones. It is fine to place a large bet every now and then, but it is not something that we would recommend that you do all of the time. Wise bankroll managment is one of the pillars that forms part of Keno Strategy that we encourage you to check out for more winning ways.

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Keno Bet Types

When you are playing Keno, you will find that there are a number of different bet types available. What are they? Well, we are going to take a look at them right now.

Keno Straight Tickets

This type of bet, which is sometimes called a "regular game" or a "straight up" is the simplest ticket to play in the game. With this type of bet, you will select just one group of numbers. Experienced Keno players will often pick between 4 to 8 numbers, also known as spots. Once you have decided on your numbers, you have to decide how much you want to wager and how many consecutive games you would like to play with those numbers for. When the numbers are being drawn, you match them to yours and then your winnings (if you have won) will be paid out according to a the pay table. If you are a novice Keno player, then this is what we recommend that you start with.

Keno Way Tickets

With this type of ticket, you will choose a variety of numbers. For example, you can select different numbers amounts and different groupings. What do we mean by this exactly? Well, you can select a group of 5 numbers, another group of 5 numbers, and then a final group that consists of all 8 numbers. Here, there is not limit on the numbers of choices that you can select. As a matter of fact, one very popular Keno bet is known as the 190-way ticket. It is called this because if you play it, you have 190 different ways of winning.

Keno King Number Tickets

With this type of bet, you will choose one number that will be included with all your other number groupings. This king number will also act as one spot. For instance, let us say that you have decided to play with two 4-spot bets, and then you choose a king number. In this case, you would now have three different groupings. You would have your two 4-spot bets and your king number, making them 5-spot bets, and another 1-spot bet which is your king number by itself.

Keno Split Tickets

If you are playing with a split ticket, then you are playing with a variety of straight bets. It plays and pays exactly the same as if you had gone ahead a put down two straight bets on two different tickets. There really is no advantages to playing bets on the same ticket. In fact, there are many out there who feel that it is a disadvantage to play like this because you cannot pick the same number twice. In other words, you cannot have the same number on any other your straight bets. So, what is the advantage of such a bet? Well, the only advantage is that you have all of your games on the one ticket, so you do not have to keep an eye on two or three different tickets.

Keno Combination Tickets

This type of bet does exactly what it says on the tin: it is a ticket where you will have a combination of different choices on the same ticket. For example, with a combination ticket, when it comes to picking numbers, you can decide on a 4-spot and a 6-spot for the same Keno draw. Therefore, you only have to fill in the one ticket instead of two. How do you play this type of bet? Well, you mark your numbers like you usually would, and then to indicate that they have been split into 2 groups, you have to draw a circle round the numbers in a group or put a line through the grid that separates 4 numbers on one side and 6 numbers on the other.

Keno Progressive Jackpot Games

Keno is a type of lottery game that can pay out huge jackpots if you manage to come across a progressive jackpot keno game. You can find these games at both land-based casinos and online casinos. The rules will vary between these games, so it is imperative that you take a look at the rules before you start playing. One example of a progressive jackpot keno game is "Nevada Mega 10 Keno Progressive. The jackpot for this game has reached a few million dollars in the past. In order to win it, you have to select 10 numbers and hope that they all land.

10 Number Keno Odds Table

When you are playing Keno, what are the odds of you winning? In the table below you will find the odds for 10 number Keno as this is the best keno game you can play as you qualify to hit the jackpot.

10 Numbers Picked.Odds
101 in 8.9 Million
91 in 163.4 Thousand
81 in 7.4 Thousand
71 in 621
61 in 87
51 in 19.5
41 in 6.8
31 in 3.75
21 in 3.4
11 in 5.6
01 in 21.8

We have a Keno Odds Guide where we explore all the Odds of the Keno game types.

10 Number Keno Payout Table

When you are playing this game, you will obviously want to know what type of Keno payout you can expect if Lady Luck is on your side. Below you will find a table that will provide you with all the information that you need.

Numbers Marked.Payout
101800 to 1
9600 to 1
830 to 1
710 to 1
65 to 1
53 to 1
42 to 1
31 to 1
20.5 to 1

Note: The payouts above corresponds to Washington's State Legistlator directive as can be found on their site in pdf form:

Machines Designed for Keno: Understanding the Online Casino Systems

In some casinos it’s possible to play at specially designed machines dedicated to keno. The advantage of this type of machine is that it allows players to avoid having to wait for specific rounds to finish or start up again to play. With this type of machine, there is no need for a keno ticket because it works much the same as online keno in that you select your numbers via the screen. In this format, keno becomes what’s known as an ‘instant game’.

The Keno virtual machines work according to algorithms

There is one thing to be aware of with it comes to keno machines and this comes down to how the casino software programmers make their games. As with all the virtual machines in the casinos, how you win is all down to the algorithm that is found inside them. Yes, this is a numbers game, but your ticket may not be as random as you think even when it comes to picking your own numbers.

There are two programs in play here. The online machines are made with RTP and RNG algorithms. The first is the Return to Play system that is popular in online casinos, especially with those playing slot machines.

The Return To Player (RTP)

The RTP will base any win relative to the money that has gone into the machine. Regardless of the number of tickets you play or what is drawn, if the percentage of money going into the machine doesn’t match the requirement, then it is unlikely that a prize will drop.

The odds are, therefore, percentage-based when you bet on a winning outcome in keno.

The Random Number Generator (RNG)

The other lottery machine is the RNG, this is a random number generator that is as random as you when you pick the spots that you wish to mark off. Winning this way is fairer with more realistic odds.

Be sure to choose the RNG format before you wager anything. The gaming details in the information section of the game will inform you of what you have selected.

Play Free Keno

Now that we brought you up to speed with our expert Keno rules guide, we suggest that you should put your newly acquired knowledge to the test by playing Free Keno Games. You will play instantly as there is no sign-up or downloads. You will also play totally risk free as you will not deposit any of your own cash. So get playing for fun and get used to the game and the software that powers it.

Experience Live Lottery Games

There are very, very few live versions of keno that plays online with multiplayer. They are rare and hard to find. Your best bet in accessing these live rooms would be inside specialist bingo casinos.

There, you will get a live experience just as you would in Las Vegas. The best thing about playing in these games is the winning prizes can only be won by those inside the room. Otherwise, with most keno games, you have a thousand plus players from all over the world trying to win the one payout from the same machine, which makes things a lot harder.

If you have an interest, grab your free bonus from our top casinos that are open to every new player and will enable you to place free bets on the card you get free.

Where to Play Keno: Discover the world of Keno around you

At a land-based casino, keno is played in specially designated rooms. Once you’ve paid to play you then have access to the main keno room. Here, the results of each round are displayed on large screens.

There is usually a system of ‘couriers’ in place to take your tickets and bring you your winnings. It’s therefore really important to keep track of your games at a land-based casino.

At an online casino, things operate pretty much automatically in that the computer will automatically payout on any wins and it’s able to auto recognize what you have compared to the draw.

Conclusion on the Keno game

Is there some magical way of predicting the right keno numbers in a game to land a winning ticket?

There are some casino strategies out there but let us not fool ourselves. Those that play games in casinos that are number-based have to remember this is full-on lottery odds. Yes, a win will bring the large online jackpots, but getting the right bet is harder to pick.

Sure, the more tickets you buy will better the odds of a prize being drawn. But for now, all you can hope for is finding a Huge Free Keno Bonus to play with so to save you spending your own finances.

Karen Newport, Casino Game Reviewer @ Casino Bonuses Index

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So now you’re up to speed with the rules of keno, are you itching to play? Check out another of our keno articles for more info on this classic casino game:


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